‘Apollo 18’ fails to deliver on its promises

Every year, more and more films are released, each sporting blockbuster special effects, multi-billionaire high profile actors, and the best staff money can buy. Apollo 18 is not one of those films. Rather, it relies on a conspiracy-theory backstory and the home-video style filming that has now become novel among contemporary horror films. Apollo 18 isn’t a horror movie in the traditional sense of the phrase, though. It doesn’t feature ghosts, typical monsters, murderers or killer sharks. Rather, it relies on the same suspense-building, “What’s the monster?” shock value that Cloverfield made its bread and butter not too long ago. Here, though, is where one of the several major plot flaws comes into play. Apollo 18 tells the untold story of the astronauts on a secret eighteenth Apollo moon mission who run into strange occurrences after landing. However, the identity of the creatures that are causing havoc on the moon becomes apparent within half an hour of the film’s commencement. The other half of the story is based on the idea that the whole film is comprised of recovered footage (again, like Cloverfield). Thus, the film only features three actors, none of them particularly great. Near the end of the film, the focus shifts to a government conspiracy that is, while vaguely intriguing, rather typical. That being said, the film would be totally lost if not for a few moments of surprise horror goodness. There are a few moments that, at the very least, will make audience members grip the cup holder arms of their theater seats. Without giving anything away, it’s safe to say that Apollo 18 has some major plot holes and a mediocre ending. The suspense/scare factor makes up for some of its failures, but the Cloverfield/Paranormal Activity film style doesn’t help much. While Apollo 18 showed admirable effort for low-budget gold, in the end, the best it should hope for is a cheese-loving cult following. Overall rating: 5/10